Quentin Bowens: versatile bruiser

The graduation of ‘Big Red' McClintock left Alabama without a returning starter at the crucial fullback slot. But in Donnie Lowe and Marvin Brown, the Tide coaches certainly have talent on hand. And the arrival of junior-college transfer Quentin Bowens, a versatile athlete capable of playing several roles, will also help. "I've played just about every position on the football field except quarterback," Bowens said.

"I've played them all. I've played fullback, linebacker, defensive end and tight end. My last year at junior college I played tight end, fullback and defensive end."

Currently enrolled at Shelton State and living in Tuscaloosa, Bowens is working hard to get in peak condition for the fall.

Mainly used as a tight end/defensive end at East Central Mississippi JC, Bowens caught 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown as a freshman while working mainly as a blocking fullback his second season. But the powerful athlete could be used in several roles. "He's a slash player--he played three positions (in junior college)," Receivers Coach Kenith Pope said on signing day last winter. "We project him as a goal-line fullback at 6-feet and 265 pounds. He's a bit short at defensive end, but he also can play tight end."

Since then Bowens has lost some weight down to 255 to pick up speed and agility, possibly prompting a new look from the Tide coaches. "They've talked to me about playing a little fullback, a little tight end and possibly a little linebacker," Bowens said. "I want to be versatile and play whatever they need. Coming from JUCO, I want to be a man that can step right in and play."

In pursuit of that goal, the Killen native has been working out daily in Tuscaloosa to get himself in peak condition. "I'm right at 255 now, and I'm 6-1," Bowens stated. "I've gotten back to where I'm in good condition now--better than I was when I started this summer. I'm getting my speed back, and I should be all right by the time the season comes around."

With one brother (Tim Bowens, ‘96-‘99) a former player and another brother (Freddie Roach) an incoming freshman, Quentin is more than familiar with the Bama football complex. And he's well aware of Dennis Franchione's emphasis on the weight room. "Weight lifting is nothing new," Bowens said. "The coaches I've had before really pushed weights, too. My high school really pushed it, so it's basically the same thing I've been through all the years I've played."

And while most newcomers require at least a year to get their strength up to competitive levels, Bowens has already bench pressed 365 pounds. "In junior college they stopped me at 550 on the squat, because they didn't want anybody to get hurt."

At 6 feet ½ inches and 255 pounds, Bowens is a powerful athlete who could help at fullback, linebacker or even at defensive end.

It's that strength, along with his blocking ability, that could be Bowens' ticket to early playing time at Alabama. "Traditionally you put a big, powerful guy at fullback to punish the linebackers," he explained. "And I've done that before. That's what I did mainly in junior college. They needed me to block. I was a power back for them.

"(At fullback) you get the occasional swing pass. I've caught my share of passes out of the backfield. I've done that before. There ain't nothing new to me anymore in football."

But though he's willing to play wherever needed at Alabama, like most athletes Bowens' isn't averse to the occasional moment of glory. "I like offense, but I like defense, too," he related. "I like fullback probably best of all of them. There you get to carry the ball and score a bit. That's the reason I like it. You get the ball every now and then to keep you satisfied.

"When you get close to the goal line, that's when a fullback really comes into play. You're going to need that blocker out of the backfield, and you're going to need somebody that can punch it in from one yard out."

Playing football for the Crimson Tide has become something of a tradition in the Bowens' household. Brother Tim, who was a standout receiver from ‘96-'99, is now an assistant coach at Coffee High School back home. And half-brother Freddie (Roach) arrives soon as a highly touted middle linebacker prospect. "Two years ago right before I went to junior college we played together," Bowens said. "Freddie and my youngest brother were on that team. Freddie's good. He got 4-A honors his senior year, so he's real good. He rushed for something like 1,500 yards. To me, he's a great fullback."

Bowens' ties to Alabama run deep, but at present the Killen native is not yet eligible for the fall.

Listed at a solid 6-2, 225 pounds, Freddie Roach isn't likely to be intimidated by anyone this fall. But Quentin isn't ready to give up his ‘older brother' status just yet. "It's been awhile since he was my ‘little' brother," Bowens said with a laugh. "I don't think any of us are little anymore. They're all grown up and bigger than me now. It's been two years since I could push him around, but I used to get him when I was in high school. And it'll happen again, too, when he comes down."

"But seriously," Bowens continued. "I told (Freddie) to just wait and enjoy the experience. Actually going through things is better than me telling him. The experience is better. It always is."

For Bowens and Bama fans, the good news is that he'll be on campus this August. But at this point he is not yet eligible to play. "I'll probably enroll in the fall like everybody else," Bowens said. "But I don't know whether or not I'll be able to play until next season. I'm still working on an English course. I'm taking a course at Shelton State now.

"But one way or another, I'll be here. This is where I signed, and this is where I'll be at. As long as they'll have me, I'll be here."

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